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Petronia xanthocollis

Petronia xanthocollis (*)

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Parvordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Passeroidea
Familia: Passeridae
Genus: Petronia
Species: Petronia xanthocollis
Subspecies: P. x. xanthocollis - P. x. transfuga


Petronia xanthocollis (Burton, 1838)


A catalogue of the Collection of Mammalia and Birds in the Museum at Fort Pitt, Chatham p.23

Vernacular names
English: Chestnut-shouldered Petronia


The Yellow-throated Sparrow or Chestnut-shouldered Petronia (Petronia xanthocollis) is a species of sparrow found in Asia.


It has a finer bill than typical sparrows of the genus Passer and unlike them has no streaks on the plumage. The white double wing bar on the shoulder is diagnostic on the otherwise dull grey-brown sparrow. Males have a chestnut shoulder patch which can sometimes be hard to see. They also have a pale yellow spot on the throat in fresh plumage. Females are duller and lack the chestnut shoulder patch.[3] The yellow spot is much reduced or lacking in females.

This species is tree-loving although sometimes seen on wires and on the ground, where it has a hopping gait. The usual call is a "chirrup" but the song is distinctive and repetitive "chilp chalp cholp". It has a bounding flight and dips deeply before rising up.[4]


Three races are described: the nominate from India (type locality: Bengal near the Ganges[5]); transfuga Hartert (type locality: Bagu Kelat, eastern Baluchistan), a pale desert form from Sind, Baluchistan and Afghanistan; and occidentalis Koelz (type locality, Abulhassan, near Sar i Dasht, Bakhtiari) from Iran westwards to Turkey.[6] This species is sometimes lumped into the Yellow-spotted Petronia (Petronia pyrgita) of Africa.[3]


The species breeds in tree hollows from April to July, often making use of the holes made by primary hole-nesting birds such as barbets and woodpeckers. They may also make use of hollows on buildings. They are often The female alone incubates the eggs, sometimes leaving the nest during the hotter parts of the day.[7]

They roost communally in low bushes. Some populations are migratory.[4]

They feed mainly on grains but also on insects, nectar and berries. An unusual food item is the petals of flowers such as those of Madhuca indica.[8] When they visit flowers such as those of Capparis, Salmalia, Erythrina and Bassia, their foreheads are covered with pollen.[9]


The Chestnut-shouldered Petronia is found from Turkey into Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and as a vagrant in Sri Lanka[3] and possibly parts of Myanmar.[10] It is found in forest, gardens and open scrub habitats.


This species is said to have introduced Salim Ali (1896–1987) to ornithology. As a young boy he shot a sparrow that looked different, and it was identified for him by W S Millard, then secretary of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), who also introduced him to the literature and collections at the museum there.[11] As a result, Salim Ali ultimatey took up ornithology as a profession. In 2003 the BNHS published a tribute to him entitled Petronia.[12]


1. ^ BirdLife International (2004). Petronia xanthocollis. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
2. ^ Gregory, SMS (2006). "Systematic notes on Asian birds. 57. The authorship of the generic name Gymnoris.". Zoologische Mededelingen Leiden 80 (5): 185–188. http://www.zoologischemededelingen.nl/80/nr05/a11.
3. ^ a b c Rasmussen PC, Anderton JC (2005). Birds of South Asia: the Ripley Guide.. 2. Smithsonian Institution and Lynx Edicions. p. 576.
4. ^ a b Clement P (1999). Finches and Sparrows.. Princeton University Press. p. 469.
5. ^ Burton, E (1838). Catalogue of the Collection of Mammals and Birds at Fort Pitt, Chatham. Chatham. p. 23.
6. ^ Vaurie C (1949). "Notes on some Ploceidae from western Asia.". American Museum Novitates 1406. http://hdl.handle.net/2246/2345.
7. ^ Misra MK (1990). "Observations on the nesting behaviour of yellow throated sparrow". Newsletter for Birdwatchers 30 (7&8): 4-5. http://www.archive.org/stream/NLBW30_78#page/n5/mode/1up.
8. ^ Bharos AMK (1992). "Interesting feeding pattern of Yellowthroated Sparrow Petronia xanthocollis (Burton).". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 89 (1): 128.
9. ^ Ali, S & S D Ripley (1999). Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan. 10 (2 ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 82-84.
10. ^ Robinson SM (1925). "Nesting of the Yellowthroated Sparrow Gymnoris xanthosterna xanthosterna at Kalan, Shan States.". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 30 (2): 477.
11. ^ Daniels RJR (2008). "Can we save the sparrow?" (PDF). Current Science 95 (11): 1527–1528. http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/dec102008/1527.pdf.
12. ^ Daniel JC, Ugra GW (Editors) (2003). Petronia: Fifty Years of Post-Independence Ornithology in India. A Centenary Dedication to Dr. Salim Ali, 1896–1996.. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195666534.

Further reading

* Bhat G (1984). Breeding Biology of Indian Yellow-throated Sparrow, Petronia xanthocollis (Burton) – a Grain eating Pest Bird. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Calcutta.
* Bhat, G. & Maiti, B. (1993). "Effects of Nitrofurantoin and Cadmium Chloride on Spermatogenetic Activity in an Avian Pest, the Yellow-throated Sparrow (Petronia xanthocollis Burton )". Journal of the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology 25 (1): 62–67.
* Reddy, VR (2006). "Evaluation of bird depredations to important standing crops in southern Telangana zone (STZ), Andhra Pradesh, India.". Journal of Ecotoxicology and environmental monitoring 16 (5): 417–424.
* Ghose,RK (1969). "Behaviour of the Yellowthroated Sparrow Petronia xanthocollis.". Newsl. for Birdwatchers 9 (7): 8.
* Mittal,OP; Sharma,VL (1990). "Studies on karyotypes of two species of Indian birds (Passeriformes: Aves).". Res. Bull. Panjab Univ. 41 (1-4): 93–102.
* Dixit, AS, Tewary, PD (1989). "Involvement of a circadian rhythm in the photoperiodic ovarian response of the yellow-throated sparrow, Gymnorhis xanthocollis". J. Exp. Biol. 143: 411–418. PMID 2732664.
* Tewary,PD; Tripathi,PM; Tripathi,BK (1985). "Effects of exogenous gonadal steroids and castration on photoperiodic responses of the Yellow-throated Sparrow Gymnorhis xanthocollis (Burton).". Indian J. Exp. Biol. 23: 426–428.
* Tewary, P. D. & A. S. Dixit (1986). "Photoperiodic regulation of reproduction in subtropical female Yellow-Throated Sparrows (Gymnorhis xanthocollis).". The Condor 88 (1): 70–73. doi:10.2307/1367755.
* Venugopal,B (1997). "Nest relocation by Yellow-throated Sparrow (Petronia xanthocollis).". Indian Journal of Biodiversity 1 (1&2): 174.
* Misra,MK (1989). "Breeding behaviour of the Indian Yellow throated Sparrow (Petronia xanthocollis xanthocollis) (Burton).". Zoos' Print 4 (10): 17–18.
* Soni,RG (1993). "Breeding of Yellow-throated Sparrow.". Newsl. for Birdwatchers 33 (3): 51.
* Soni,RG (1993). "Breeding of Yellowthroated Sparrow.". Newsl. for Birdwatchers 33 (4): 78.

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